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May 18, 2012 12:05 PM

Ok clever cooks! Money/time saving tips on multi-purposing items!

Hello chowhounds! I love reading tips that other people have discovered. It saves me the time of having to either discover it myself, or cooking without knowing such a great idea.

The threads that have enlightened me recently with useful tips were ones where I found out about using coffee filters instead of cheesecloth, and using a rasp for garlic! Awesome ideas! Both save time, money, and also kitchen space by me not needing to buy multiple items to do different jobs!

Do you have any clever tips?

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  1. Here's a money saving tip. Take some binder clips from your company supply closet every once in a while. They work better than chip clips, and this way are a lot cheaper.

    6 Replies
    1. re: TroyTempest

      It's a great idea to use binder clips instead of chip clips! Definitely saves money and then you can also use them for office work. I would be careful about taking them from the company supply closet though. ;)

      1. re: TroyTempest


        Chill a bag of onions in the fridge or soak them in ice water. Chilling will save you from crying, soaking makes peeling easier. Prep them all, slicing or chopping as per your intended uses.
        Then either: Freeze in baggies or containers. Break/pry off what you need when cooking. Because freezing breaks cell walls, onions cook quicker from frozen than from room temp.
        - OR - saute them all, removing and freezing in recipe-sized amounts at various degrees of doneness, from just-softened, to golden, to caramelized. Oil keeps them pliable so you can fork out what you need when cooking.

        1. re: TroyTempest

          I saw a tip the other day that I thought was clever. Screwing a binder clip down on the inside of a kitchen drawer and clipping a kitchen towel to it and letting it hang out side the drawer.

          I have also seen them used to manage cables and if you screw them to the bottom of a computer table with the little round handle sticking out, you can hang USB cables from them.

          I have seen them used to hold cloth napkins folded and together.

          Oh, the top of the refrigerator is such a multi-tasker! You can store fly swatters, empty pie tins, solvents... anything you don't particularly want at eye level. :-)

          1. re: TroyTempest

            I do this too. Paper clips work nicely too...

            1. re: TroyTempest

              i use clothespins, those are cheap too!

              1. Keep a roll of wide blue tape in the kitchen. You can tape something shut, open it and reshut it a good number of times. I used it for the bags of nuts I keep in the freezer, coffee bean bag in the drawer. Also great for marking container, peels off easily. Also handy when the box holding a roll of plastic wrap starts to fall apart.

                1 Reply
                1. re: escondido123

                  that's great idea escon, I keep a skinny round of masking freezer tape on hand in kitchen but it hardly holds up once let alone several times of trying to get it to stick

                2. I use wooden clothes pins for almost every closure need in the cupboards, freezer, kitchen.
                  Cheap, plentiful, small, reliable, reusable. I hate fiddly twist ties, and a lot of "reclosable" packaging isn't really closed when you think it is.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: blue room

                    blueroom, I'm not sure I've ever been good enough at opening a closed zippered package of food without breaking the zipper part, they NEVER reclose their intended way. who designs these confounded things anyway.

                    my husband has an affection for those bulldog clips, they come in all sizes and colors and I can always count on him to get me a new package when needed. I hang up entirely too many
                    things inside my pantry by using them. I have a storage unit on the door of my pantry for storage. once I realized that the rungs [were wasted available space that could be utilized] just going into a large room, I started hanging things up using the bulldogs. hang my netted bags of garlic/zipper bags of spices that I've gotten from spice shops and come in little tiny zipper bags so I put in one big zipper bag/chocolate chips/current open potato chips/small recycyle bags from stores etc. that I keep filled with go to lunch box toss ins/other ones are used for prepackaged dried fruits like craisins or mini bags of trail mix and protein bars.

                    but blueroom, your idea is better because yours can look weathered over the years and the character of them look better with wear.

                    1. re: blue room

                      I hadn't thought of using wooden clothes pins for so much! That would definitely save money. Great tip!

                    2. To save time, make chocolate chip cookies but don't add the chocolate chips. Spread the dough in a brownie pan. Put the chocolate chips on top. Run the pan in the oven for 3-4 minutes until the chips soften. Remove the pan and run a knife through the dough a few times to marbleize the chocolate. Return to oven and finish baking. Cut into squares.

                      1. The best time saver is a pressure cooker. It's a money saver as well because you can put almost any leftover meat in there (eg. pork, beef, chicken) and turn it into "Pulled" meats - put that in a tortilla/taco.

                        Take your holey rubber gloves and instead of throwing them out, I cut them into bands...they make good rubber bands.

                        wash and reuse your milk bags (they don't leak).

                        I'm sure I have a bunch of others.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                          I had to Google this - I had no idea what "milk bags" were. This is going to sound very "stupid American," but how are they sold? Stacked up on the shelf? Or in multiples in boxes? I'm picturing a bunch of bags of milk rolling around on grocery-store refrigerator shelves...

                          1. re: Ditdah

                            the store i usually shop at just leaves them in the crates and you just take them from there, but others just organize them on the shelves


                            1. re: Ditdah

                              Much of the milk sold in bags is UHT so it does not need refrigerating. When I was in Poland once, the bags were sold cold (not sure if they were UHT or not), but the store had a big cooler of them. It was top opening and customers just took out what they needed.